Article: Work-from-Home causes stress, insomnia: Study

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Work-from-Home causes stress, insomnia: Study

Working remotely does cut the commute time and ushers a better work-life balance, but along come health problems. Would you rather risk it?
Work-from-Home causes stress, insomnia: Study

A lot of people who have a routine 9-to-5 job often get envious of people who get to work from home, but if new research findings are to be believed, maybe they should not anymore. A study released by the United Nations International Labour Organisation reveals that technology may have made our lives easier, but employees who work remotely deal with significant side-effects. The report managers were Jon Messenger of ILO and Oscar Vargas Llave of Eurofound, a Dublin-based research group. 

The data was incorporated from 15 countries, including India. : 10 from the EU and rest being India, Argentina, Brazil, Japan and the United States of America. The researchers classified employees with regard to their place of work: 

  • regular home-based teleworkers 
  • occasional T/ICTM (Telework/ICT-mobile work) worker 
  • high frequency of working in various places, including working from home


The ILO, in key findings of the research mention that these employees were more productive while away from a conventional office set-up. In fact, other positive outcomes included “reduction in commuting time greater working time autonomy leading to more flexibility in terms of working time organisation, better overall work–life balance, and higher productivity.” Companies who encourage teleworking too benefit for the employees are motivated and infrastructurally too there’s a reduced need of “office space”. However, along comes the risk of ‘long working hours’, ‘higher work intensity’ and ‘work-home interference’. 42 % of people who regularly work from home reportedly suffer from insomnia as compared to 29% of those who work at employer’s site. Talking about stress, about 41 % of highly mobile employees experienced some kind of stress which in comparison was reported by 25 % of office-goers. 

How is it with you? 

Do you enjoy working from home, regardless of whichever category of workforce (mentioned above) you are closest to? 

How do you overcome interruptions at home? The bed is surely inviting you for a nap, but how do you keep your eyes closed to these temptations?

The report states that “management resistance to T/ICTM is perhaps strongest in India, as indicated by the following statement from the India national study.”  This got us thinking. Why is it so? The only guess that can succinctly answer this question is that a lot of managers seem to feel a loss of control and have trust issues with employees who work remotely. They lose their authority because their team members aren’t physically in office for them to supervise. Then again, there are bosses who have full faith in teleworkers and would not put undue pressure on them and ask them to send an hourly update of work they are doing. 

Should we then follow the new French labour code provision that quite openly talks about “right to be disconnected” for our health sake? What? You don’t know about it? Well, from 1 January this year in France, a new law empowers people with the “right to disconnect” so that work doesn’t encroach their personal space. They have every right to not respond to emails or calls and ignore their smartphones once they leave work. Way to go, right? After all who among us all would like to read an email (worst a stinker) during our Sunday brunch? 

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